10 Tips for The New Middle (or High) Schooler

August 15
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Today I am pumped to have my friend, Yvette, throw down some wisdom. Big year in mom world for her this year – send one off to high school and the other to middle school. I have always looked to her for parenting advise and after reading what she shares today, I remember why! Thanks, Yvette, for being honest and open and sharing this advise with us today! Love you.
**If you would like to guest post on this blog, give me a shout at autumn@funlifehappylife.com

Hello lovely readers of Fun Life*Happy Life!! My name is Yvette Manes and I blog over at AquaSeventy6. I was thrilled and humbled when Autumn asked me to be a guest blogger! Over the last 8 years Autumn and I have been friends, partners in crime, writing cohorts, thrift sisters, and craft buddies. I know I’m not the only one who has gone out of her way to BFF it up with this beautiful lady. A little about me: I’m a wife and mother of two. I am also a writer, small business owner, and native Floridian of Cuban descent. As you will see below, I tend to be loquacious (thanks, thesaurus!) Sorry for taking up so much real-estate on your blog, ARJ! xoxo

10 Tips for the New Middle {or High) Schooler

The saddest time of the year is the week before school starts. This is an especially tough end-of-summer for me. My son enters high school and my daughter enters middle school. They are growing up, becoming autonomous in their studies and daily decision making. They will be exposed to hundreds of new people with a whole new set of social rules, all while their bodies and minds are developing at the fastest pace since they were infants. I wish I could reattach their umbilical cords and keep them with me until they are fully-formed adults, but alas, it is impossible. They will have to make do with my words of wisdom. Author Peggy O’Mara has said, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” All summer long I’ve been planting these little seeds of advice in their brains to help them through this transitional year, in the hopes that their inner voice will accompany them down the halls, even when I (sadly) can’t.

1.Listen to your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not OK. Always come to me, your dad, or your teacher/counselor if you experience or witness something that makes you uncomfortable.

2.Always say what you mean, especially if you mean “No”.
(Backstory: My daughter hates to disappoint, so oftentimes when she doesn’t want to do something, she will shrug and say, “I don’t know”. Over the years, we’ve been able to decipher her IDK Code, but I’ve been trying to get her to break this habit before she enters middle school.) People are going to confront you in your life and ask you to partake in certain activities that you know are wrong, you aren’t ready for, or you simply don’t want to do. Saying “IDK” when you mean “no” will be interpreted as an opportunity to persist, plead their case, and wear you down. “IDK” basically says, “I’m considering it.” It is up to you to be clear so that there is never any confusion as to how you feel.

3. Be extremely careful of what you say (write, text, post, photograph).
Anything you put online, text, or even write in a note can be copied and spread around. Your BFF today may be your mortal enemy tomorrow. Don’t create any media (virtual or otherwise) that can be used against you in the future.

4. Social media comes with responsibility.
Any social media accounts you are allowed to have must be private, and I must approve your followers/who you follow. I will be one of your followers. Your online behavior reflects not only on yourself, but on your family and upbringing. There is to be no cursing, brooding, gossiping or inappropriate gestures. If you have the insatiable need to “express yourself,” write in a journal or create a piece of music or art.

5. Don’t be afraid to try-out/audition.
The worst that can happen is that you aren’t chosen, but you will never be picked if you don’t make the attempt.

6. Be the best “you” you can be.
Your body is going through a lot of changes and this is the most important time to stay active, eat balanced meals, get a full night’s sleep and have good personal hygiene. Doing this will give your body the tools it needs to reach its full potential.

7. School work comes first.
Before extracurriculars, before socializing– make sure your school work is done and that you continue to make good grades. Don’t wait until you are too far behind to ask for help if you need it.

8. Avoid drama.
There are people who thrive on drama and gossip. Don’t be one of them. Never spread rumors (even if you know them to be true.)

9. Choose kindness.
There are people who struggle to make friends. They may sit alone at lunch or get picked last. Those are the people you need to be especially kind to. You can offer a smile or a seat at your lunch table. Learn their names and say “hello” when you pass them in the hall. One act of kindness can change a person’s whole day.

10. Come to us (your parents).
There is nothing you can’t say to us, and nothing we can’t forgive. We are always here, whether you have a problem, are confused, you’ve made a mistake, need help making a decision, or just want to talk. We’ve been there and done that.

I know that these tips do not fully encompass all that a middle/high schooler will face. But, I do hope that they will serve as a foundation on which our children can continue to make good choices and grow be happy and successful adults.

What other pieces of advice have you given your tweens/teens? We’d like to know! Share them in the comments!


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